General Cigar acquires Torano brands


General Cigar Company today announced the acquisition of the Toraño Family Cigar Company brands. This acquisition will strengthen General Cigar’s market position and enhance the company’s product mix to deliver greater value and innovation to its retail customers and consumers. It will also allow General Cigar to further expand its exceptional portfolio of leading brands by offering opportunities within the company’s international footprint, while presenting significant growth potential in the domestic market.

Spanning almost 100 years, Toraño Cigars has a vast history that encompasses every area of the cigar industry, from growing to manufacturing, to ultimately the creation of their own brands.  Production of Toraño’s portfolio including the popular Exodus, Reserva, Casa Toraño, Vault and Master Collections will remain unchanged.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio. Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”

“There is a long-standing and proud history of partnership between General Cigar and Toraño, dating back to my family’s exodus from Cuba. There is no other company that I would rather have continue my family’s legacy, and I look forward to seeing the Toraño brands prosper under General Cigar’s expertise,” said Toraño president Charlie Toraño.

The transaction will take effect on September 11, 2014.

About Toraño Family Cigar Company

Headquartered in Miami, Toraño Family Cigar Company was established as a leaf growing company in Cuba and spans over four generations. Following the Cuban revolution, the Toraño family grew tobacco in the Dominican Republic and later began manufacturing handmade cigars across Central America. Since the 1990s, Toraño developed its own portfolio of brands, best known for having complex blends featuring tobacco from many different countries of origin and taste profiles.


About General Cigar Company

General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit

® Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, CAO, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

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General Cigar hires Sam Leccia and acquires brands


Luchador filter








General Cigar Company is excited to announce today they have hired Sam Leccia as “Cigar and Blend Specialist.” General Cigar has also acquired the Leccia Tobacco Company cigar brands, as part of the Foundry Tobacco Company, and will market and distribute the Black, White and Luchador lines, effective today.

Sam has built a strong reputation in the premium cigar category through his non-traditional approach to cigar making and brand building.  He is best known for developing contemporary blends that put a unique and exciting spin on the tradition of premium cigars. In his new role at General Cigar, Sam will continue to develop his brands while leveraging the company’s vast tobacco resources, premium cigar blending expertise and creative talent. He will also bring new, innovative products to the premium cigar market.  As an ambassador for his brands, Sam will continue on his quest to share his passion for premium cigars with retailers and consumers across the country.

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar said, “I am impressed with what Sam has achieved.  He broke into the industry, worked tirelessly for years, and made a name for himself by developing interesting cigar brands.  Sam will provide additional creative talent to complement the expertise of our existing team, enabling us to build on the success of his and our current brands. I look forward to his contributions in helping us accelerate our plans for Foundry Tobacco Company, and to the personal perspective he will bring to our entire brand portfolio.”

“To say that I am thrilled to be joining General Cigar Company is a gross understatement,” said Sam Leccia. “Even before I began my career in this business, I experimented with different tobaccos to create new flavors and smoking experiences. Having creative freedom, access to the resources of General Cigar, and the ability to work with the company’s master blenders and tobacco experts is like a dream come true. I’m beyond excited for the opportunity to take my passion for this business and my love of delivering the unexpected and put them to work for General Cigar.”

About General Cigar Company

General Cigar Co. is the leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®,  La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco.  Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit

® Macanudo, Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, CAO, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey, Excalibur and Club Macanudo are registered trademarks of General Cigar Company.

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Hechicera by Sotolongo Cigars; Cigar review

hechiceraHechicera by Sotolongo Cigars was announced in early October, 2013. The company was created by Grace Sotolongo and Christian Eiroa of CLE Cigars.  A Maduro blend was announced at the 2014 IPCPR and on July 31st, 2014, Grace Sotolnogo revealed that she had the company effective immediately. The Hechicera brand is owned by CLE Cigars and Chrisitan Eiroa has said that the “concept” of this brand was being retained.

The translation of Hechicera means a female sorceress, who has the ability to captivate and enchant those around her with her beauty and charm.

The Nicaraguan Puro blend is available in four vitolas: 5 1/2 x 44 Box Press (MSRP $5.95), 4 1/2 x 50  (MSRP $6.95), 6 x 52 (MSRP $7.95) and a 6 x 60 (MSRP $8.95) All vitolas are available in boxes of 10.

I purchased several of the 6×52 vitola from different local tobacconists for this review. I paired the cigars with water while performing the review.

The Hechicera’s wrapper is a medium brown in color with prominent veins and visible seams. The cigar is firm to the touch and has a mild tobacco aroma coming from the wrapper leaf. The cigars have a finished foot that emits a rich, fragrant berry scent. The cigar’s cap is well formed and smooth.

The pre-light draw is easy with no resistance at all. I also picked up on that rich berry flavor at this point.

Getting into the meat of this cigar, the first third brings a rich, savory tobacco flavor on my palate and a sharp spice sensation to the back of my throat with a milder spice in my sinuses.

The second third of the cigar brings a stronger tobacco flavor on my palate and the spice strength in my sinuses also picks up. There is a long lingering finish and I can feel a bit of a nicotine buzz at this point.

The final third really kicks this cigar into high gear with a lot of sweetness and strong tobacco flavors. The spice sensation remains the same in my sinuses. I really feel this cigar comes into its own here at the end.

The cigar burns very well throughout the smoke with an even, scalloped edge. The cigar’s ash is firm and tight with a thin carbon ring. The ash initially falls off after about an inch and a half. The cigar also produces a tremendous amount of smoke with each puff.

I would classify the Hechicera as a full bodied, medium to full strength cigar. It is an absolute pleasure to smoke and has quickly become one of my favorite cigars. On a scale of 100, I give the Hechicera a 92.

Only time will tell if this brand sticks around but for now, I recommend to pick some of these up at your local shop if you come across them.

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Montecristo Espada; Cigar review

espadaThe Montecristo Espada is one of the latest releases from Altadis. This Nicaraguan Puro is beautifully packaged in suede covered boxes of ten and is available in three vitolas: Guard: 6 x 50 (SRP $11.75), Quillon: 7 x 56 (SRP $12.50) and Ricasso: 5 x 54 (SRP $11.50).

The Espada’s tobacco blend is comprised of a Nicaraguan Shade Grown Jalapa wrapper that surrounds a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder and a filler mix of Nicaraguan Ometepe, Jalapa and Condega filler leaves.

Before I could actually see the cigar’s wrapper, I had to remove the majority of the bands. In addition to the typical band you would find near the cigar’s cap, there is a foot band and a large, perforated middle band with the Espada name and logo. This middle band was quite a challenge to remove on all three of the samples I smoked. While the bands are just for aesthetics and don’t affect the review of a cigar, the removal was cumbersome and I was worried about wrapper damage as I removed them.

The Shade Grown wrapper is tan in color, has a few prominent veins and visible seams. The cap is well formed and the wrapper has a faint tobacco aroma. The finished foot gives off a sweet, earthy tobacco scent. The cigar itself is firm to the touch and has an average weight.

After clipping the cap, I found a slight resistance to the draw and a faint berry flavor coming from the filler.

The overall burn of the Espada was scalloped but even. The cigar had a medium sized carbon ring and a firm, slightly flaky gray ash that initially dropped off at about an inch in length. The cigar produced a good amount of satisfying smoke with each puff.

The first third of the cigar revealed a mild spice sensation as I passed the smoke through my sinuses. There were mild tobacco flavors on my palate and no finish to speak of.

The second third had no change to the spice sensation but, the tobacco flavors increased slightly and there was a mild finish on my palate.

As I moved into the final third, the peppery spice was consistent on the exhale while I picked up on some richer tobacco notes and there was a medium, lingering finish.

Overall, I would have to say that the Montecristo Espada is an average smoke with mild to medium strength and mild to medium body. For the suggested price point I would have liked something with more complexity in the flavor profile. On a 100 point scale, I am rating this cigar at an 82.

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Antillian Cigar to distribute four cigar brands


Antillian Cigar Corporation, owner of the popular cigar brands Sosa, Underground and 60 by Sosa, is happy to announce that it will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for The Cigar Cork, Arandoza Cigars, Headlines Cigars and Doña Nieves Cigars.

“We are excited to bring these boutique brands under the umbrella of the Sosa family,” stated Arby Sosa, creative director and sales manager for Antillian Cigar Corp.  He explained, “With this being the year of our 50th Anniversary, the Sosa family looked at the cigar landscape and realized that ‘strength in numbers’ is the future.  Why did I choose these brands to distribute? If you know me, you know I’m a simple guy.  Each product had something different and interesting to offer, and I believe this collaboration with innovative concepts will allow all of us to remain competitive in this business.”

Under this arrangement, the Antillian Cigar sales staff will bring The Cigar Cork and the Arandoza, Headlines and Doña Nieves cigar brands to market while each company will continue to focus on its own product development, brand expansion, and manufacturing.

About Antillian Cigar Corp:

The Sosa cigar tradition began with Don Juan Sosa, a small tobacco grower in the fertile Taguasco region of Cuba at the turn of the century. By the 1920’s, his farm had become one of the largest tobacco-producing haciendas in Cuba. Over the next 30 years, Don Juan’s son, Arturo, and grandson, Juan, manufactured cigars for sale in Cuba and abroad. In 1964, Arturo and Juan opened their first factory in Miami, FL.  The factory closed in 1980 and moved operations to the Dominican Republic. In 1996, Juan B. Sosa began with the Fuente family and manufactures various lines of cigars of out the Fuente factory.  Today, the legacy of quality, handmade cigars made in the Cuban tradition continues with master blender, Juan B. Sosa, alongside his wife, sons and nephews. 

About The Cigar Cork:

The Cigar Cork is a patent-pending division of Maine Lobster Steamer, LLC, a registered 100% Veteran Owned Company.  The Cigar Cork is a re-usable cigar humidification/flavoring system that stores and humidifies cigars in an airtight pressurized tube designed to give you years of use.  Each closing of the Cigar Cork tube reseals and pressurizes the tube ensuring an unsurpassed cigar preservation environment.  Each tube can fit up to a 7 x 60 cigar or hold smaller cigars. 

About Arandoza Cigars:

Arandoza Cigars is owned by Robert Arango and makes the Red, White and Blue Label cigar lines out of the La Zona factory in Nicaragua.  The wrapper used for these cigars is Habano, Habano Oscuro and San Andreas Capa Negra and will be available in 9 sizes.  The strength of these cigars is medium to full-bodied. 

About Headlines Cigars:

Headlines Cigars is owned by Dee Aguasvivas and Ulises Delgado.  The cigar is a 100% Dominican cigar using Andullo tobacco and made out of the Tabacalera Real Tamboril.  The wrapper used is Pennsylvania Seed and Habano Oscuro grown in the Dominican Republic.  It will be available in 6 sizes, and the strength of this cigar is medium to full-bodied. 

About Doña Nieves:

The Doña Nieves brand of cigars is made in Nicaragua in the factory of El Galan owned by Felix Mesa.  It is a medium to full-bodied cigar.  The wrapper used is Habano and will be available in 3 sizes.
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H. Upmann’s The Banker; Cigar review

bankerThis week I am reviewing one of the newest cigars from Altadis, H. Upmann ‘s The Banker.

I’m also adding something new, starting with this review. I’ll be assigning a numerical value from a 100 point scale for each cigar I review going forward.

From the cigar’s website, the story about The Banker is as follows:

“In 1844, German bankers Carl and Herman Upmann traveled to Cuba where they created an exceptionally unique cigar. They securely locked it away in their vaults to be gifted to their most important clients.” The website goes on to say that this blend has been resurrected in today’s “The Banker”.

The Banker’s tobacco profile is comprised of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and a mixture of Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobaccos.

The Banker is available in three sizes: Annuity (52 x 6”), Arbitrage (56 x 7″) and Currency (48 x 5 ½”).  MSRP for The Banker is $7 to $8.40.

For this review, I received several of the Annuity vitola from the manufacturer.

When you first look at The Banker, you really can’t see very much of the wrapper leaf. The cigar’s band and foot band anchors a large sheet of white paper that has the cigar’s logo in gold. Once you remove the two bands and white paper, you’ll see  a third band and the medium brown color of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The cap is a well formed triple cap. The cigar is firm to the touch and has a sweet, earthy aroma. The cigar’s foot is finished and has a sweet, berry scent.

Clipping the cap, I take an easy pre-light draw and pick up on some berry notes.

Once lit, the cigar has an even, scalloped burn. It develops a thin carbon ring and a tight gray ash that falls off after about an inch and a half. The smoke produced with each puff has good volume.

Moving into the first third of the cigar, I find that there is a very strong spice sensation in my sinuses. On my palate, I pick up on woody tobacco and some bitterness on the finish.

The second third of the cigar again has strong spice sensations in the sinuses. The bitterness on my palate subsides and is replaced by a very heavy tobacco flavor.

The final third of The Banker is similar to the second with the addition of a rich, long finish.

H. Upmann’s The Banker is one of the better cigars I have smoked from Altadis. I would consider it a medium strength, medium bodied cigar. Smoking it was an enjoyable experience and on a scale of 100, I would give The Banker an 86.

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Gabriel Alvarez announced as U.S. Director of Sales for Maya Selva Cigars


Maya Selva Cigars is pleased to announce that effective September 1st, 2014, Gabriel Alvarez will be joining our team as Director of Sales in the United States.
Gabriel Alvarez originally served as the Operations Manager for Kuuts, LLC, where he handled day-to-day operations for the company, including (amongst various other responsibilities) social media, marketing, brand development, logistics, and sales. Gabriel was the owner of a very successful cigar shop and lounge in Miami, Florida, prior to entering the manufacturing side of the cigar world.
According to Gabriel Alvarez, “after almost two years of helping to launch Kuuts, I have decided to resign.  It was a hard decision to leave a company I was with from the very beginning, however I must do what’s best for my family and myself.  I have nothing but good wishes for the Kuuts team, and I would like to thank them, and John Gonzalez in particular, for guiding me in this journey. I have accepted the position of Director of Sales with Maya Selva Cigars and am looking forward to this next step and to launching another great company in this incredible industry.”
Maya Selva Cigars has won several Cigar Journal awards in consecutive years.  They have had excellent success in the European market, and they are well prepared to establish themselves in the United States.  Gabriel Alvarez will act as brand ambassador on the road, ready to introduce you and all future Maya Selva Cigarsaficionados to our great product.
Says proprietor Maya Selva of Alvarez, “few are those who truly understand what a great cigar should be. Gabriel, without question, belongs to this exclusive club.  I am sure that those who will have the privilege of working with him will certainly acknowledge his natural talent and vast knowledge of cigars.”
Since 1995, when Flor de Selva was launched in France, the “Maya Selva Cigars” collection continues to expand, to the amazement and delight of aficionados.  Now consisting of three brands — Flor de SelvaCumpay, and Villa Zamorano — the collection invites the most demanding smokers to discover the tradition of hand-crafted cigars, the cultivated tastes of Maya’s personally-selected growing areas in Honduras and Nicaragua (their terroir, or “spirit of place”) and a uniquely creative vision of thepuro.

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Jordan Alexander III Premium Cigar Company re-brands and releases new blend

rebrandJordan Alexander III Premium Cigar Company officially announces a re-branding of the company to include a new logo, band, and release. The new logo, which will be incorporated into future releases and marketing materials, can be seen attached to this release. Replacing the original “lions and crest” logo, this design exemplifies the family tradition theme of JA3Cigars. The re-branded logo is based on the Alexander Family Coat of Arms.

Partnered with the rebranding of the company, JA3Cigars is proud to officially announce a new blend produced through the Quesada Cigar Factory, expected to be released mid-Fall of 2014. Replacing the current corojo blend, the new release (known as the Jordan Alexander III Corojo) is constructed with a
Dominican Corojo wrapper, Dominican binder, with Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. The Jordan Alexander III Corojo will be available in four vitolas; robusto (5 ½ x 54), toro (6 x 52), double toro (6×60), and belicoso (6 x 52). All vitolas except the belicoso will feature a pigtail cap. The new release will feature a new band, incorporating the “Alexander Coat of Arms” logo, which will be unveiled
with the release.

Retailers interested in carrying the Jordan Alexander III Corojo are asked to contact or call 1-866-216-3349. Shipment priorities are given to current retailers and are first come, first served.

Reviewers interested in pre-release samples and/or release samples are asked to contact

The previously carried corojo, along with the original band and logo, will be discontinued at the release of the Jordan Alexander III Corojo. Current retailers wishing to maintain stock of our previously released blend are asked to contact regarding limited production options.

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Drew Estate unveils “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” for Barrister Cigars

HerreraDrew Estate Tobacco Co. announced today the release of the first “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera”, a concept cigar by Willy Herrera. Made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in extremely small batches, the Tienda Exclusiva line is specially crafted for one retailer per release, with only a few releases scheduled per year. The inaugural “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” blend was produced for the owner of Barrister Cigars in Union, New Jersey, David Mallow, following the 2013 New Jersey Cigar Festival.

When asked about the blend, Willy Herrera responded from Estelí, Nicaragua: “This was one of the blends that I was working on through 2012 and 2013. David smoked it at the Festival and kept coming back for more. Eventually, he smoked every cigar I had brought, which I thought would be enough for the entire week! I knew he loved the blend and it felt right assigning it to him for my first Tienda Exclusiva.”

David Mallow, owner of Barrister Cigars, said that, “the ‘Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera’ is a truly beautiful project that I am honored to be involved with. It’s no secret that Willy is one of the most talented tobacco blenders out there, and we can’twait to have the cigar in our humidor.”

As stated previously, every “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” blend is a limited quantity production cigar made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. Jonathan Drewnoted, “I recommend you don’t sleep on this one. These are one and done. Willy has a lot on his plate right now as Master Blender of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. As I’ve said before, ‘Boutique is in the Heart’ and Willy has spent so much time creating and experimenting with blends. We have some real gems out of the blends he has worked on. Now, it’s time to get them into production.”

The “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” for Barrister Cigars is packed in 10-count boxes and will sell for $12.00 MSRP per cigar, plus applicable state taxes. They will be offered for sale on September 2nd from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at a Barrister Cigars event in Union, New Jersey, with Willy Herrera and Jonathan Drew hosting the event.

In the meantime, enter the “Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera” giveaway for your chance to win the first box of this Tienda Exclusiva release, signed by Willy Herrera. Enter at
About Drew Estate, Inc.

Founded in New York City in 1996, Drew Estate has become one of the fastest
growing tobacco companies in the world. Under their mantra “The Rebirth of
Cigars”™, Drew Estate has led the “Boutique Cigar” movement by innovating new elements to the tobacco industry with their unique tobaccos and blending styles that have attracted new and old cigar enthusiasts. In their Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, the Nicaraguan headquarters, Drew Estate produces a variety of brands such as ACID, Herrera Estelí, Kentucky Fired Cured, Liga Privada, MUWAT, Natural, Nica Rustica, Tabak Especial, UnderCrown, and Java by Drew Estate.

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The Guayabera Lady Foundation and the Fuente family proudly announce the 3rd annual “Havana Nights”

The “Fuente Family Affair” event hits South Florida this October 25, 2014

Miami is no stranger to amazing events. But few are charged with such a powerful message and such a dynamic group of supporters. The Inaugural Havana Nights – “A Fuente Family Affair” event was held in 2012. The fete was unforgettable to many, as it was also one of the largest fundraising events held for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.  With great pleasure is the announcement of the 3rd Annual Havana NightsA Fuente Family Affair presented by Hublot, taking place Saturday, October 25th, 2013 from 7PM-1AM at Neo Vertika located at 690 SW 1st Court, Miami, FL 33130.

Presented by The Guayabera Lady Foundation, this event is being held to support the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation and promises to be bigger and better than last year; with an outstanding array of entertainment, Bacardi cocktails, libations and live music. As if that wasn’t enough, guests can enjoy a raffle and silent auction featuring a huge selection of luxury items as well as unique collectibles all donated by supportive sponsors all over the map.


The event is once again being hosted by the “World Renowned” Guayabera Lady, Mrs. Berta R. Bravo.  Beloved by many, and recognized for dressing many notables, Berta again welcomes everyone to attend the festivities and reminds: “it’s all for a wonderful cause.”

Expected guests will include: local VIPs and celebrities, cigar aficionados from across the country, city officials, and supporters from various walks of life that will make for an entertaining and fulfilling evening of great music, great food and great company.   Don Carlos Fuente Sr. will present.

Tickets to the gala are $125 per person and $200 per couple. To pay by credit card please log onto – or you may call: 786-287-6664.

Checks must be made payable to The Guayabera Lady Foundation and mailed to:  The Guayabera Lady – Attention:  Havana Nights – 4832 S.W. 72nd Avenue, Miami, FL. 33155. Suggested attire: Black and red “Guayabera Chic” in honor of Carlos Fuente.

Please follow us via social media on Face book, Twitter and Instagram using hash tag #HavanaNightsMia


The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable non-profit organization. The foundation’s mission is to provide a significant humanitarian impact to communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition and who have little or no sustainable employment. CF-CF in 2001 the Fuente and Newman families created the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The Foundation partnered with Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI), a Dominican based nonprofit organization that for the past 30 years has been fighting poverty by providing training and skills necessary to make a positive change for those living in both urban and rural regions of the Dominican Republic.

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